Anthozoans are amongst the most colourful of marine organisms. The most widely known British members of the Anthozoa are undoubtedly the sea anemones, yet these only comprise 60% of the 74 species covered by this Synopsis. Gorgonians, Sea Pens and Colonial Corals are also included in our fauna.
The majority of species included are those which habitually occur within the 100 m depth contour around British coasts; this does not exclude those which also occur beyond this limit. A few exceptions to this rule, such as Lophelia, are included as they are relatively well-know members of the British fauna.
Anthozoans are soft-bodied, highly contractile animals whose shape and movement are governed by a hydrostatic skeleton with various sheets and blocks of muscle. Details of internal anatomy are given throughout the Synopsis, but wherever possible the author has used features which can be seen in the living anthozoan.
Synopses of the British Fauna is a series of identification guides. Each volume in the series is a detailed account of a group of animals. They bridge the gap between standard field guides and more specialised monograph or treatise. Since 1993 the the Field Studies Council has published these guides on behalf of the Linnean Society.
These volumes are suitable for the lab or field. The editors aim to keep them as user friendly as possible, with technical terminology at a minimum and a glossary of terms. However the complexity of the subject matter makes the books more suitable for the more experienced practitioner.